The New York Knicks have discovered new ways to lose all season, and Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks put them to the ultimate test — but they met the challenge in devastating fashion.
The Knicks took the Hawks to four excruciating overtime periods — just the 15th game in NBA history to go at least that far — only to miss a wide-open chance to send the game into a fifth OT. In a game that saw 23 lead changes, 21 ties, 12 players score in double-digits, seven play more than 48 minutes and five others foul out, the Hawks prevailed, 142-139, after 3 hours, 40 minutes and four overtimes.
All-Star forward Paul Millsap played a game-high 60 minutes, leading the Hawks with 37 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists. Dennis Schroder collected a career-high 15 assists to go along with his 23 points, and Dwight Howard (19 points, 13 rebounds) also added a double-double before fouling out.
New York’s Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 45 points, but was one of four Knicks to foul out.
Sunday’s game marked the first quadruple-overtime game in the NBA since the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls went four extra frames last season on Dec. 18, 2015. Only three games have ever gone longer, with the Indianapolis Olympians and Rochester Royals playing a record six-OT game in 1951. (For Knicks fans out there drowning your sorrows after this loss, there’s an easy bar bet to win.)
Knicks guard Courtney Lee missed a potential game-winning 21-footer at the end of the third overtime, and then failed on two more chances to send the game to a fifth overtime, including a great look from 3 he left just short at the buzzer (understandable, given that he had played 52 minutes):
— The Fuzz (@TheFuzzNBA) January 29, 2017
Although, Lee did hit the game-tying triple to send the game into a third overtime 10 minutes earlier:
Because 2OT wasn't enough….
— NBA (@NBA) January 29, 2017
Atlanta gave New York every chance to win, as Millsap, Schroder, Dwight Howard and Tim Hardaway Jr. all missed last-second opportunities to ice the game in regulation and the first two OTs. Like Lee, Schroder had his hero and goat moments, too, air-balling a 3-pointer at the end of the first overtime, but making up for it with a nifty layup to tie the game at 130-130 in the final seconds of the third OT:
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 29, 2017
In addition to Millsap’s 60 minutes, four of Atlanta’s starters — Hardaway, Schroder and Bazemore — all played 50 minutes. Lee and Brandon Jennings both exceeded 50 for New York. Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah may have joined them in the 50-minute club, had they not all fouled out (along with Knicks reserve Kyle O’Quinn). Key cogs Porzingis and Anthony earned their sixth fouls midway through the fourth quarter and with 12 seconds left in the second overtime, respectively.
Still, in a span of 66 seconds early in the fourth overtime, the two teams traded five straight 3-pointers, with Jennings and Bazemore each sandwiching a pair of 3’s around a 24-footer by New York’s Justin Holiday. Jennings’ second make from distance in that stretch gave the Knicks a 139-136 lead:
But Atlanta scored six straight before Schroder’s missed free throw with 10 seconds left gave Lee two final errant chances for another tie. Such was the back-and-forth of one of the NBA’s longest games.
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